The Tennessee Arts Commission and the Upper Cumberland Development District are pleased to announce that Clay County has been awarded the Creative Placemaking Grant for arts enhancement of the county’s historic courthouse.

Clay County, with assistance from the Upper Cumberland Development District, applied for and was awarded the maximum amount of $8,000, which was matched by $2,000 from the Committee.

The Clay County government will continue restoration of their historic courthouse, Tennessee’s 2nd oldest operating courthouse in Tennessee. developing the upstairs courtroom as a theater. The courtroom has been the venue for multiple plays and musical performances. With the funds of this grant they have purchased a new sound system, the first installment of a theater lighting system, and theater curtains. The sound system has been set up and preparations for the lighting system and curtains installations are being made. Partners include the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, Upper Cumberland Development District, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, and local arts teachers.

The sound system was in place for “Christmas at the Courthouse”, an annual event that includes a Christmas themed play and a musical Christmas Jamboree. Plans are to schedule monthly events as well as all the regularly scheduled events in and around the “The Historic Clay County Courthouse” as it remains the 2nd oldest operating courthouse in Tennessee.

Local leaders have been working hard to preserve the beauty and history of the Courthouse with the recent installation of nine large display panels, each showcasing a different subject of Clay County history. All these additions are taking place as Clay County is preparing to celebrate the Sesquicentennial birthday of the Courthouse and the County in 2020.

The Tennessee Arts Commission invests in more than 700 nonprofit organizations across the state benefiting communities through quality of life, economic development, tourism and providing a more balanced education for our children. You can support the TN Arts Commission by purchasing a specialty license plate (

The Upper Cumberland Development District provides regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find UCDD on the web at and at